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Rumors swirl about Jennifer Lopez leaving 'American Idol'

May 16, 2012 |  4:03 pm

Jennifer LopezThe search for "The X Factor's" new judges ended earlier this week, but the search for a new "American Idol" judge may be just beginning, if there's any truth to rumors that second-year judge Jennifer Lopez is looking to leave the show.

Lopez's one-year contract for $20 million is up after this season and she has not yet signed for a third season.

The singer is touring with Enrique Iglesias in the U.S. and Latin America this summer and there are reports of a world tour after that. She also reportedly wants to spend more time with her children.

This could just be part of a negotiating tactic, of course. While it's preferable for the network to have next season's contracts squared away before the upfront presentation (which was Monday for Fox), Lopez didn't re-sign with "Idol" last year until August. And though network execs reportedly wanted her for a multi-year contract, like that of her fellow judge Steven Tyler, she only signed for one year and got a hefty pay bump (from $12 million to $20 million).

Lopez appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Tuesday to promote the movie "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and told the host, "I really do enjoy it. Now this is my second year. I don't know if I can go for a third year. I miss doing other things. It really does lock you down, which was nice the first year with the babies being 3, but now they're getting more mobile, they're about to go into school. So I just don't know."

"Idol" executive producer Nigel Lithgoe told TMZ on Wednesday: "We want her back. I want her back.... It's a business. She has to weigh everything. I know she's gotten lots of offers to do movies and other things."

With a world tour a possibility, it could be difficult for the singer to be in the States for the "Idol" auditions, which start in the fall.

Earlier this week, Lopez was named the top celebrity on Forbes' Celebrity 100 List, citing her rich "Idol" deal, her various endorsement contracts, her huge social media following and her clothing line. It's possible Lopez is just using the moment to push the network for an even larger payday.

Fox declined to comment.

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-- Patrick Kevin Day

 Photo: Jennifer Lopez. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Associated Press

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